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New Montana DUI Laws – April 2013

The State of Montana strengthens DUI laws and clamps down on repeat offenders.

On 26th April 2013, Montana State Governor Steve Bullock signed into law HB 355 which eliminated the previous 5 year look back period for sentencing purposes upon conviction of repeat DUI related crimes in Montana. The new look back period is increased by 5 years which now makes Montana a state with a look back period of 10 years.

This means that anyone who commits a second DUI conviction in Montana anytime within 10 years of a previous conviction will face stiffer penalties and will be sentenced as a repeat offender. Under the new law those drivers who are convicted a third (or subsequent) time will be faced with even stiffer penalties and all previous convictions in that persons lifetime will be taken into account for sentencing purposes.

The new law also makes it easier for people to be convicted of ‘Aggravated DUI’ which attracts harsher penalties than a standard DUI. Under the old law drivers who had one prior conviction or pending charge within 3 years of the commission of the present offense would be classed as committing ‘Aggravated DUI’. This has now also been extended to 10 years, meaning any driver who has one prior conviction or pending charge within 10 years of the commission of the present offense would be committing ‘Aggravated DUI’ as would drivers who have two or more prior convictions or pending charges in their lifetime.

Officials hope this new legislation will reduce recidivism by helping offenders with alcohol problems as Judges can now order mandatory attendance at 24/7 sobriety programs (where available) for second time offenders.

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